Maybe I’ve Been Wrong About Love All This Time

📷: Huy Phan

You smile at me from across the table. The lighting is low, our voices are whispers, and the breeze moves past the window like a long, steady exhale. I feel so safe here with you. The space between us is not alive and pulsing like it used to be, but soft and gentle, like the warmth of falling into bed at night, like the security of knowing someone is mine and there’s nothing to be afraid of.

You speak and I trace the pattern of the placemat with my fingernail. I wonder how it got like this, so easy. And is that a bad thing?

Love, I’ve been shown over and over again, was complicated. Love sounded like slammed doors and raised voices. Felt like bruises, like scuffs on your knees from falling too much. Tasted bittersweet, like chocolate milk left on the counter too long.

I always saw love as this challenge—that two people would have to fight for and with one another, and that every day would be difficult, but you would choose each other, no matter what.

But sitting across the table from you, the sound of your voice like an old favorite record, the scruff of your beard like a map I want to trace with my fingers, the gleam of the kitchen light in your eyes like the warmth of coming home—I know, now, that love is not supposed to be hard.

Love is smiling unconsciously, is feeling laughter echo in your chest cavity like the most normal sound in the world. It’s falling asleep to each other’s voice like a lullaby; it’s buying two of everything without thinking, rewriting the script of your life without a second thought.

Love, is not something you have to work for. The feelings happen. The choices come. The decisions are made without your control—you’re falling, and it’s beautiful. But you are not powerless, not losing yourself. You are gaining, growing, becoming. It’s easy, not hard.

And as I sit across this table from you, as I soak in the sound of our shared silence, feeling more at ease than I’ve ever felt in my life, I realize that maybe I’ve been wrong this whole time. Maybe love is not supposed to be filled with fights and arguments, not created between two people who have to work so damn hard to keep it. Maybe love is not this complicated journey in which you constantly feel at odds with yourself while simultaneously trying to navigate what it means to be someone else’s instead of your onw.

Maybe I’ve been wrong, thinking love was this complex, frustrating thing—when in truth, to love someone is the easiest thing in the world.

It is the act of loving that will bring difficulty, but never pain. A relationship shouldn’t be strain or stress, shouldn’t be losing yourself, shouldn’t be abusive or feel like something’s wrong.

Love should be, simply, the finding of yourself within the arms of someone else. Discovering a home in a person, and how right that feels.

So maybe I’ve had it all wrong thinking I had, that we have to search for love. Love is here. Love is effortless. Love finds us.